Meet SCA Requirements Without Causing Customer Friction

Prepare for Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) without impacting customer friction

Catherine Malec

Mar 14, 2022

PSD2 (2nd Payment Service Directive) SCA is a set of rules from the European Banking Authority put in place to help protect customers from fraud while they are shopping online.

This has been mandatory across Europe since January 2021. However, in the UK, under new SCA requirements, card issuers will now decline all non-compliant transactions as of 14 March1. This can cause significant disruption. UK online merchants need to ensure they fully support SCA by this date or risk customer purchases being rejected and causing substantial customer friction.

Customer authentication requirements

An Accertify and Arizent Research survey found that 37% of merchants surveyed revealed sales had decreased due to SCA enforcement, with added customer checkout friction (41%) and increased cart abandonment rates (38%).2

SCA is designed to deter online transaction fraud by requiring additional user authentication before banks can authorise payment. The rules set out in PSD23 apply when a payer initiates an electronic payment transaction, accesses their payment account online and carries out any online activity that may imply a risk of payment fraud.

Customers now must authenticate payment (with some exceptions) by providing two of the following factors (2FA) during their shopping activity at time of payment:

Knowledge – something the user knows, like a password

Inherence – something the user is, like a fingerprint or FaceID

Possession – something a user has, their smartphone / Debit Card

Mandating the requirement for these factors makes it more difficult for criminals to pose as legitimate customers. The downside, however, is that legitimate customers often experience more friction in their shopping experience as a result.

Payment fraud4 is on the rise and global losses stood at around $32bn in 2020, with forecasts projecting up to $40bn by 2027. Refunds abuse is also rising5, capitalising on the sheer volume of transactions and diminished ability for returns tracking. In some regions, shipping companies are not currently obtaining signatures for deliveries, which can make it difficult for merchants to verify delivered purchases.

Addressing customer friction

When 3D Secure (3DS) first came into play, customers found being redirected to their bank page a tiresome and unpleasant addition to the purchasing process. Eventually card-issuing banks took a risk-based authentication strategy that caused less stress for customers. Continuing to provide an easy experience is critical to increasing sales.

Online businesses are not ultimately responsible for PSD2 authorisation, though it is in their best interest to meet SCA requirements. Merchants who prepared ahead of the deadline had time to educate their customers and seek ways to ensure a frictionless buying experience. Failure to meet the latest deadline and requirements will result in increased cart abandonment6. This could impact retailers with a high basket value especially hard if not managed correctly.

Acccertify’s SCA Optimisation and client success

As a leading provider of payment optimisation, fraud prevention, digital identity and chargeback management solutions, Accertify’s SCA Optimisation7 supports eCommerce merchants’ SCA needs, detects and prevents payment fraud, and can authenticate legitimate account activities.

Accertify’s layered-risk platform, machine-learning backbone, and extensive community data enables businesses to manage fraud across the entire customer journey from account creation, authentication, activity monitoring, payment, and disputes.

Accertify successfully transitioned online fashion business Showroomprivé to SCA by enabling Transaction Risk Analysis (TRA) exemption. Accertify supported them in navigating the requirements of SCA, giving 90% of customers a seamless checkout experience – whilst also mitigating fraud risk. Orders are now accepted and approved more quickly with minimal chance of fraud and improved sales productivity and efficiency.8

Founded by former in-house fraud and risk managers, Accertify understands the ever-increasing risks organisations face online and the new SCA requirements are no exception.

Accertify’s digital network of trust allows businesses to have faith in who is on the other end of a transaction with less risk of fraud, therefore reducing the negative impact on user experience. This means that Accertify can be the first interactive part of the payment chain. As soon as a customer clicks, the risk decision is made so merchants can decide what to do with the transaction.


  1. Source: FSA, May 2021
  2. Source: Arizent Research/ PaymentsSource, December 2020/January 2021
  3. Source: European Commission
  4. Source: Merchant Savvy, October 2020
  5. Source: Accertify
  6. Source: Microsoft/Finextra
  7. Source: Accertify product page,
  8. Source: Based on client data